Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-10-2019, 08:29 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
TeacherJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 134
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cat C7
Are My Batteries Toast?

When I got my bus ('05 FS65, Cat C7), I knew one battery tested bad. After sitting for a while it wouldn't turn over. I pulled the bad battery and replaced it. Started right up. Voltmeter on the dash read 14.1 while running. It all seemed good. The bus sat for a while more, and yesterday wouldn't even try to turn over. I put the multimeter on the batteries and it read around 8 volts.

Questions:
I have three Group 31 batteries. Is that optimum?
Should I pull each battery and test individually?
Are my batteries toast and need replacement?

I am going to try to determine if there is a parasitic draw (I'm totally new to this). Any advice or comments are welcome.

Joe
TeacherJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 08:41 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,266
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeacherJoe View Post
When I got my bus ('05 FS65, Cat C7), I knew one battery tested bad. After sitting for a while it wouldn't turn over. I pulled the bad battery and replaced it. Started right up. Voltmeter on the dash read 14.1 while running. It all seemed good. The bus sat for a while more, and yesterday wouldn't even try to turn over. I put the multimeter on the batteries and it read around 8 volts.

Questions:
I have three Group 31 batteries. Is that optimum?
Should I pull each battery and test individually?
Are my batteries toast and need replacement?

I am going to try to determine if there is a parasitic draw (I'm totally new to this). Any advice or comments are welcome.

Joe
If you have one bad battery the rest will go bad in short order.
I run 2 g31's. Some run 3 in colder climates. I've never had any issues starting any bus with even one.
I'd buy a couple brand new batteries and start fresh.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 08:50 AM   #3
Skoolie
 
TeacherJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 134
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cat C7
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
If you have one bad battery the rest will go bad in short order.
I run 2 g31's. Some run 3 in colder climates. I've never had any issues starting any bus with even one.
I'd buy a couple brand new batteries and start fresh.
Thanks. Thatís what I was thinking. However, I donít want to throw batteries at a faulty system. I feel like I need to rule out a parasitic draw. Am I overthinking it?

Joe
TeacherJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 08:56 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,266
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeacherJoe View Post
Thanks. Thatís what I was thinking. However, I donít want to throw batteries at a faulty system. I feel like I need to rule out a parasitic draw. Am I overthinking it?

Joe
You'll need batteries either way.
Buy em cheap. If you have a Rural King they sell G31's for $79. Those are what I run. They're decent enough.
Your bus has a lot of electrical stuff. Start checking out everything with a multimeter.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 09:12 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
david.dgeorge07's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 1,405
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: CAT 3126
Seems like our busses often have at least a little parasitic drain even if nothing is ďwrong.Ē

I have breakers in the engine bay that I flip any time I donít need to start for a while. You may also, and if not if may be worth adding a marine style disconnect.
__________________
My Build Thread:

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/4-...ner-18205.html
david.dgeorge07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 09:31 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
turf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,602
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
bad batteries cause phantom problems.

if your parasitic draw is not obvious, replace the batteries, and it will probably go away.
__________________
.
Turfmobile Build Thread
turf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 10:06 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,814
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Disconnect your batteries from the bus and each other, charge them properly and then test them or get them tested.
You do have a parasitic draw, they just don't go flat typically from sitting.
Clean up battery posts and cable ends, both ends and ground connections.

A simple paste of baking soda and water brushed on posts etc aids in cleaning then brush off residue with a wire brush.
If you can check the specific gravity on each battery cell.


When all is well just connect one and begin checking for that parasitic draw.
There is a simple way of doing that, mentioned in other battery threads here.
Do all of these steps before throwing money at new batteries.



John
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 10:38 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
TeacherJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 134
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cat C7
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
Disconnect your batteries from the bus and each other, charge them properly and then test them or get them tested.
You do have a parasitic draw, they just don't go flat typically from sitting.
Clean up battery posts and cable ends, both ends and ground connections.

A simple paste of baking soda and water brushed on posts etc aids in cleaning then brush off residue with a wire brush.
If you can check the specific gravity on each battery cell.


When all is well just connect one and begin checking for that parasitic draw.
There is a simple way of doing that, mentioned in other battery threads here.
Do all of these steps before throwing money at new batteries.



John
This sounds like a plan. Thanks for the help everyone.

Joe
TeacherJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 10:44 AM   #9
Bus Nut
 
sportyrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 339
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
Rated Cap: 84
Your C7 is controlled by a computer just like all newer vehicles so you will definitely have a parasitic draw all the time, but you could disconnect it and look for a draw from something else also.
sportyrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 10:59 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,814
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyrick View Post
Your C7 is controlled by a computer just like all newer vehicles so you will definitely have a parasitic draw all the time, but you could disconnect it and look for a draw from something else also.



How much draw is there Rick from these computers anyway?
Enough to kill two Group 31's?
Most vehicles get driven and so charge batteries up again but buses do sit more, private ones anyway. I could see it over a few weeks or months happening without charging at all. Something else going on here I presume.


John
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 12:40 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
sportyrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 339
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
Rated Cap: 84
I think the draw is minimal, just memory, don't forget your stereo has a memory drawing constantly. The best choice is to disconnect a battery post or trickle charger. I have a truck sitting and use a solar charger to keep the batteries up. A lead acid battery discharges from 6-20% a month depending on weather from what I just read.
sportyrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 12:55 PM   #12
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,884
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
From the sounds of it, you replaced one battery without having the others tested. One weak battery will discharge others in a system (assuming they are not isolated) and eventually kill them.


Quote:
Questions:
I have three Group 31 batteries. Is that optimum?
Should I pull each battery and test individually?
Are my batteries toast and need replacement?

1. Should be fine, unless you have a really big engine to start. A C7 engine should be fine with just two, some states or school districts require a minimum CCA rating from a battery (or multiple batteries) or a certain reserve. Many engines will start fine on just one good strong battery, though it will spread the load across more batteries and help them last longer.
2. YES! Every time.
3. Without testing, I'm only guessing, but it sure sounds like it.


I can buy Group 31's locally from an independent battery shop for about $70 each - my bus has 2, but the battery bay can hold 3 (and eventually might). Road tractors and many commercial trucks hold 4.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 12:59 PM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,884
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyrick View Post
I think the draw is minimal, just memory, don't forget your stereo has a memory drawing constantly. The best choice is to disconnect a battery post or trickle charger. I have a truck sitting and use a solar charger to keep the batteries up. A lead acid battery discharges from 6-20% a month depending on weather from what I just read.

My bus does not (yet) have a radio, the ECM draw (if any) is so low it is practically negligible. I should get a solar trickle charger, but many plug into a cigarette lighter (which my bus also lacks). I'll either have to add one, or find a hard wired version.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 01:11 PM   #14
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,001
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeacherJoe View Post
Thanks. Thatís what I was thinking. However, I donít want to throw batteries at a faulty system. I feel like I need to rule out a parasitic draw. Am I overthinking it?

Joe
No, you definitely want to fix the issue before destroying your new batteries.My 37' Genesis only uses one battery, no issues starting it. Might start with just one till it's figured out.
o1marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 02:20 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 882
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
FYI, my bus's DDEC engine computer draws 8mA when the engine's not running.

I use two Group 31 start batteries (with the DDEC powered by battery 1), and each of them is connected to its own Ultra Trik-L-Start battery maintainer that keeps them always fully charged. As long as I have two green lights showing I know I'm always ready to start.

John
Iceni John is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 04:05 PM   #16
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 969
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Inceni john.
I was just looking at a motor upgrade with the DDEC and EMC for my all mechanical bus?
Do they require constant power for memory retainage?
For the teacher Jo.
On any 12v system every thing is almost grounded buy the mounting plate of the fixture and screw into the body metal. Any of the body/chassis grounds whether main body to chassis or old light switches that don't quite turn off all the way.
I need to do this myself but I know it is my battery to chassis connection.
Two group 31's should be adequate for our purpose.
If they don't do it then turn the motor over with a ratchet and socket?
Maybe it's topped out on compression stroke at last umph of your old battery.
Should always replace all batteries at the same time.
Jolly Roger bus 223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 04:21 PM   #17
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,266
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
How much draw is there Rick from these computers anyway?
Enough to kill two Group 31's?
Most vehicles get driven and so charge batteries up again but buses do sit more, private ones anyway. I could see it over a few weeks or months happening without charging at all. Something else going on here I presume.


John
My DT466e would drain the batteries after a few months.
I'm sure the c7 is the same.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 04:29 PM   #18
Bus Crazy
 
david.dgeorge07's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 1,405
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: CAT 3126
Lots of advice here. My Thomas with a 3126 probably is quite similar electrically. I have LED lights and relays that are active on the four 12 volt load centers that the bus has, regardless of key position.

The only way those turn off is if I kill the main breakers. It can sit for a while with no problem, but a month or more and it starts starting hard.

How long was your bus sitting? How deep was the discharge? Fully draining them is not great for them, especially in cold weather, but it does not automatically mean they are toast.

Even Walmart will test batteries for you, so it is easy to do. Also, as others have said, a good trickle charger can do a lot to bring a borderline battery back to health (assuming it has enough electrolyte).
__________________
My Build Thread:

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/4-...ner-18205.html
david.dgeorge07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 04:38 PM   #19
Skoolie
 
TeacherJoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 134
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cat C7
Quote:
Originally Posted by david.dgeorge07 View Post
Lots of advice here. My Thomas with a 3126 probably is quite similar electrically. I have LED lights and relays that are active on the four 12 volt load centers that the bus has, regardless of key position.

The only way those turn off is if I kill the main breakers. It can sit for a while with no problem, but a month or more and it starts starting hard.

How long was your bus sitting? How deep was the discharge? Fully draining them is not great for them, especially in cold weather, but it does not automatically mean they are toast.

Even Walmart will test batteries for you, so it is easy to do. Also, as others have said, a good trickle charger can do a lot to bring a borderline battery back to health (assuming it has enough electrolyte).
The bus sat for only a couple weeks. I recently replaced one of the three batteries and the bus started right up. Just yesterday they read 8 volts with a multimeter. I have good advice here and will pull the batteries and determine if they can recover. Unfortunately I canít run a trickle charger where I store it. No electricity. I need to actually figure out whatís going on. Itís all good. This is exactly what I need to learn so I can be competent down the road.

Joe
TeacherJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 04:43 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,266
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeacherJoe View Post
The bus sat for only a couple weeks. I recently replaced one of the three batteries and the bus started right up. Just yesterday they read 8 volts with a multimeter. I have good advice here and will pull the batteries and determine if they can recover. Unfortunately I canít run a trickle charger where I store it. No electricity. I need to actually figure out whatís going on. Itís all good. This is exactly what I need to learn so I can be competent down the road.

Joe
You're going to want a disconnect switch if you're going to have it sitting a lot with no trickle charger.
Any time you replace one battery you're typically going to need to replace all three. I've gotten away with it before but usually they go bad quickly unless they're all 100% the same.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×